Small Business

Antrocket.com: First Hispanic crowdfunding site takes off

From left: Javier Torres and Guilfre Tort From left: Javier Torres and Guilfre Tort

By LAURA RENTAS
Special to News is my Business

A group of Puerto Rican entrepreneurs, motivated by the desire to solve their own project financing challenges, on Wednesday launched Antrocket.com, the first Hispanic crowdfunding platform.

“We want to redesign society with Antrocket by promoting collaboration, accountability and transparency. We figure that, if we act more like ants do — ants are highly social, incredibly cooperative and extremely hardworking — we’ll all be better off, since more creative projects will have a better chance of taking off. We named our site Antrocket as a tribute to those ideals,” said Javier Torres, co-founder of Antrocket.com.

Antrocket.com is a rewards-based crowdfunding site that acts as a funnel for inventions that need financial resources but have not found them in the traditional financial system. The crowdfunding model provides innovators, inventors, artists and entrepreneurs — collectively called creators — an alternative source of cash to fund their projects through a network of supporters.

The process begins when creators share their projects online with the crowdfunding community registered at Antrocket.com. Members of this community, or backers, support projects by putting up their own money to make them happen in exchange for rewards.

Projects that reach their funding goals on or before a pre-determined time period receive cash, and Antrocket collects a 5 percent fee.

“As an inventor and entrepreneur, I’ve often faced the frustration of not finding financing for my own projects. With Antrocket.com, I’m turning my frustration into action based on the belief that, if I create a collective solution to help others achieve their goals I will ultimately be helping push my own projects forward. That is the seed of Antrocket and the philosophy that drives our team,” said Guifre Tort, site co-founder and co-creator of 3-Boo (Tribu), one of the first projects being featured in Antrocket.com.

During a press conference held Wednesday to announce the launch of Antrocket.com, its founders explained the benefits of the crowdfunding platform, which not only provides a solution to the funding needs of creators, but also gives them access to a place where they can market and test their ideas for free.

By accessing the crowd that is already gathered across social media and the Internet, creators can reach mass audiences, create a customer base and mitigate risk by distributing it among a large number of backers.

If and when creators manage to compel enough members of that crowd to put up their own money to fund them in exchange for rewards, their projects get funded. If, on the other hand, they don’t convince enough people to back their project, no money changes hands and no transaction takes place.

Greater range of ideas get a chance
Pioneered by such sites as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowdfunding model circumvents the risk aversion and profit-focus of traditional funding systems to give a greater range of ideas a chance. As of December 2012, there were an estimated 536 crowdfunding sites operating worldwide.

In 2011, crowdfunding platforms raised approximately $1.5 billion through some 1 million successful campaigns. The average pledged amounts ranged between $50.61 and $53.35 and approximately half of projects got funded, with those reaching funding goals significantly exceeding the target.

There are eight different projects currently campaigning on Antrocket.com to receive funding: The Plátano Kit, a high-design Puerto Rican souvenir; Karmalicious school play tools, a line of school supplies; 3Boo “vegigante” dolls, a series of three dolls inspired by local traditions; Access newspaper, a lifestyle publication; Thunder, a documentary about 13-time world Muay Thai champion David Cummings;  Hungry Chupacabra, a mobile game; Defend the Fawkin Station, A touch-based, sci-fi shooting game with strategic elements for mobile devices and tablets; El Cerro a social and community art project by Chemi Rosado, and Adrian Gandía’s bid for the Judo Juvenile Championship.

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